Sep 20, 2019 - Research

Global Genetics Project Expand To More Countries


After the success of our African Genetics Project, 23andMe began one of its most ambitious ancestry initiatives to date, the Global Genetics Project.


Launched in February 2018, the program is reaching out to individuals with recent heritage from dozens of countries in Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas.

The goal is to expand 23andMe’s population reference data, improving the ability of our scientists to study groups currently underrepresented in genetic research, as well as reveal new insights into patterns of human migration and genetic diversity. 

Global Genetics Project Recruitment

We’ve been fortunate to exceed our original goal of recruiting 5,000 individuals to participate in this study. Since enrollment began in 2018, more than 7,000 participants have enrolled. Each enrollee has four grandparents from one of 63 countries identified as underrepresented in 23andMe’s research database.  

In fact we’ve hit our enrollment goal (at least 400 enrollees per country), and have closed enrollment for the following countries: Cambodia, Indonesia,  Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. Data from some Global Genetics Project participants has already contributed to a recent update to our Ancestry Composition report, which now provides a more detailed breakdown of ancestry from Africa. 

“We’ve had a great response to the study so far, and for that reason we’ve expanded the program and added 35 new countries to our priority list,” said Joanna Mountain, Ph.D., Senior Director for Research at 23andMe. “This effort means that more people, no matter their ancestry, will benefit from the work we are doing.”

What’s Next

The success of the program means that we can now expand the set of countries for which we are recruiting. These additional countries (including French Guiana, Ghana, and Suriname) are underrepresented not only in 23andMe research, but also in genetics research more broadly. By expanding recruiting for our Global Genetics Project, we hope to quickly add new reference populations improving not just results for our customers, but the diversity in 23andMe’s ground-breaking research.   


Check out the Global Genetics Project landing page here to learn more.


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